Nitrate Level and Brown Algae

Discussion in 'New Members' started by Jeffrey van Zyl, 20 May 2012.

  1. Jeffrey van Zyl

    Jeffrey van Zyl

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    Hi All! I am also another newbie :)

    I would like to know what my nitrate level should be, did water change today, my levels before water change were the following:

    Nitrate 50
    KH 7
    PH 8

    I also have a greenish brownish algae that is growing at the back of my tank, looks hairlike, what do I do to prevent this?

    The tank is pretty stable as I bought it over from a guy where it has been standing for about 2 years already.

    Thanks
     
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  3. Hails

    Hails

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    Nitrates should be as low as possilbe. What is your phosphate reading?
     
  4. Jeffrey van Zyl

    Jeffrey van Zyl Thread Starter

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    do not have a phosphate tester yet.will be sure to get one tomorrow.as far as water changes,i do it weekly.do you have other means of lowering nitrate.how does the po4 infulance nitrates?
     
  5. Hails

    Hails

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    How often do you do water changes and what percentage do you do? Do you have a protein skimmer? How many fish do you have in the tank? Might just be overfeeding or food particles getting stuck somewhere.
     
  6. Visser

    Visser MASA Contributor

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    Hi jeffrey, Very welcome to masa.
    Well, firstly, nitrates & phosphates are two of the elements that marine aquarists struggle the most to keep under control (or at least nitrates)
    As you will soon discover, there are 3 things that makes algae grow like weed: nitrates, phosphates & light.
    Unfortunately, we cant do much about the light, as we are trying to get as much light ad possible to get corals & other stuff growing, the only thing we can do about light is to change the bulbs to a higher kalvin rated bulb (20000k) is a good place to start since algae loves lower kalvin rated bulbs (10000K & lower)
    Bulbs also has to be changed out every couple of months to prevent as the light spectrum of the bulb changes as it ages. (every 6-8 months with flourescent bulbs.

    Nitrates: this is the real little "bugger" when it comes to algae.
    Nitrates is a byproduct in the whole nitrogen cycle. When fish crap, a part of that consists of ammonia. With the help of aerobic bacteria found within liverock & the substrate of your tank it converts the ammonia into nitrites. (aerobic bacteria: bacteria requiring oxygen rich water to do their job.)
    Then, the nitrites are again converted by aerobic bacteria into nitrates (NO3)
    Now this is where the problem comes in, anaerobic bacteria (oxygen poor environments) is required to convert nitrates into nitrogen, but since our tanks has so little areas where anaerobic bacteria can exist, nitrates build up to quite alarming levels, very quickly.
    Now one way to keep nitrates on par, is to do water changes, as you have been doing, but sometimes this ends up quite expensive. So here are some other methods you can also keep it down:
    1. Vodka(carbon) dosing, which is a bit more advanced, & should only be attempted if you fully understand the process, which also requires a descent skimmer to be effective.
    2. Dsb (deep sand bed) which is a good way to go if you have a sump large enough to keep one. Dsb also take a while to get into full full denitring ability (this is where anaerobic bacteria lives)
    There is a lot of articles on the internet about dsb...
    3. Coil & sulphur denitrators, these are the nice means of keeping nitrates down, but require a lot of patience to get working correctly.
    4. Resins & absorbants: there are quite a couple of these on the market, but the best ive used is definately brightwell aquatics nitrat-r. A bit expensive, but ive had mine for a year now, & i just regenerate it, & its as good as new.
    5. Dosing bacteria & supplements: imo, this should be done by every aquarist, there are a couple of these products on the market, seachem stability & brightwell aquatics nitro-bacter. But probably the best is to use prodibio- biodigest together with bioptim. I have used these with great success. Ive had 0 nitrates & phosphates since using prodibio.

    Now im not saying you should stop water changes when using these methods, but it helps to do it less frequent if you do water change to keep nitrates down.

    Phosphates normally come as a direct product of what we put into our tanks, like: frozen food, topup water, water change water& salt , & some other methods as well.
    Phosphates can be reduced much easier than nitrates.
    The method i would use in your sized tank would definately be with seachem phosguard. Which is what ive been using with great success.
    There are also other methods including phosphate reactors, but they all end up to be very expensive.

    This was just in a nutshell the basics of keeping algae to a minimum, & everyones opinions differ around it, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to the same thing, reduce phosphates & nitrates& your algae will be gone.

    Can you please post some pics of your tank & the algae so we can help you get rid of it.
    Also, please describe your tank, does it have a sump, skimmer, what lights, which equipment etc.

    Hope this could help you a bit...
     
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